Origin and Scope of Long-Range Stabilizing Interactions and Associated SOMO–HOMO Conversion in Distonic Radical Anions

Ganna Gryn'ova, Michelle L. Coote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


High-level quantum-chemical methods have been used to study the scope and physical origin of the significant long-range stabilizing interactions between nonmutually conjugated anion and radical moieties in SOMO-HOMO converted distonic radical anions. In such species, deprotonation of the acid fragment can stabilize the remote radical by tens of kilojoules, or, analogously, formation of a stable radical (by abstraction or homolytic cleavage reactions) increases the acidity of a remote acid by several pKa units. This stabilization can be broadly classified as a new type of polar effect that originates in Coloumbic interactions but, in contrast to standard polar effects, persists in radicals with no charge-separated (i.e., dipole) resonance contributors, is nondirectional, and hence of extremely broad scope. The stabilization upon deprotonation is largest when a highly delocalized radical is combined with an initially less stable anion (i.e., the conjugate base of a weaker acid), and is negligible for highly localized radicals and/or stable anions. The effect is largest in the gas phase and low-polarity solvents but is quenched in water, where the anion is sufficiently stabilized. These simple rules can be employed to design various switchable compounds able to reversibly release radicals in response to pH for use in, for example, organic synthesis or nitroxide-mediated polymerization. Moreover, given its wide chemical scope, this effect is likely to influence the protonation state of many biological substrates under radical attack and may contribute to enzyme catalysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15392-15403
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


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